Ming the Mechanic:
Group Forming

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Group Forming2002-11-11 23:48
pictureby Flemming Funch

Seb Paquet mentions there's a group for group-forming discussion, which grew our of his own inquiries into the subject. On the table are questions like:
"How are new communities born?
How can we make it easier to form groups?"
Those are big questions indeed. Creating the circumstances for productive groups to form is a non-trivial problem. Particularly when we're talking about self-organizing groups. If I have the resources to pay some people to do certain things, I can create a group. If I stand on a street corner and hand out free beer, I'll have a group quickly too. But the interesting question is how groups will come together in a less pavlovian way, where it isn't just a matter of lining up to get your treat, and doing whatever it takes to get it. If there are just a number of possible interest areas, or a number of tasks at hand, or there's just a number of people who exist in the same space, who have different interests - what facilitates that they self-organize in a useful way?

I can guess at many things. Of course it helps a lot to have some tools freely available. In a physical space, some different meeting rooms, some comfortable chairs, and some whiteboards to write on, would help a lot. In a virtual space it would work in similar ways. If there are spaces available you can move into, on your own impulse, and start drawing on the boards, some fundamental groundwork is in place. And if you can easily see who is around, who's available, and what their interests are, that certainly helps greatly too. But it takes more.

It takes purpose. A group needs to exist for something. A common interest or a shared space might be a trigger, but it doesn't provide the purpose. The purpose can't be faked. There needs to be something REAL that these people are together for. It might not be important to anybody else in the world, but it has to be important for the people in that group.

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12 Nov 2002 @ 06:51 by spiritseek : Just like anything...
you must search for like minded people who have the same goals in mind. The internet is a vast information center that seems to be endless with possibilities.Just like anything else, check out several and see how they fit, the shoe just might be a glass slipper!  

12 Nov 2002 @ 07:04 by martha : Ming
we know this already. What's the point?  

12 Nov 2002 @ 14:40 by ming : The point
... is that it is not so self-evident. NCN is a good example. There are people who find the people and circumstances they want. There are many more who don't. And NCN sort of aspires to be more than just a conversation, to also be teams of people working on big or small problems of the world.

I take it as one of my projects to work on understanding how it works, how it happens. And I do understand that it might seem strange or superfluous to people who don't pursue the same inquiry.  

Other stories in
2010-07-10 13:01: Strong Elastic Links
2010-07-08 02:27: Truth: superconductivity for scalable networks
2010-06-27 02:28: Be afraid, be very afraid
2008-07-06 23:20: Laws of social networks
2008-06-20 15:40: Peer material production
2008-05-06 13:57: Why can't we stick to our goals?
2008-02-21 21:16: Open social networks
2007-11-08 01:49: The value of connections
2007-11-07 00:51: Diversity counterproductive to social capital?
2007-07-13 23:42: Plan vs Reality

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